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So after the long wait, when someone finally gets that phone call for an interview at an airline, what do they need to study? What kinds of questions will they ask during the interview? How many interviews do they typically have to go through before a hire decision is made? In short, how does it work?

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The Delta Interview Process

I interviewed about three months ago at one of the several regionals that uses the Delta interview process. It goes a little something like this:

Company Introduction

You arrive in the morning, somebody meets you, shakes your hand, and you usually hear a little speech or presentation about the company. If your prospective employer uses AirlineApps, they'll have you verify that all of your information is still current, and gather your paperwork. Then, it's off to Computer-Based Testing!


Computer Based Testing

CBT in the Delta interview is divided into three segments: cognitive, personality, and job knowledge.

Cognitive

The cognitive test is essentially reflex and memory games, of the sort you'd see on lumosity.com. Some examples:

  1. You are shown a horizontal line, with a pointer in the center. The pointer will move from side to side at random along the line. It is your task to counteract this random movement using the arrow keys to keep the pointer as close as possible to the center of the line.

    • Measures: Focus and concentration
  2. You are shown two words, such as DF3ET and DEFET. It is your task to determine as quickly as possible if they are the same or different, and to click the appropriate same or different button on screen.

    • Measures: Attention to detail?
  3. You are shown a table of six numerals paired with six simple shapes. This table remains on screen. You are shown a series of these shapes. Decode, as quickly as possible, the series of shapes into the numerals they represent.

    • Measures: Matching, working memory.
  4. You are shown a graphic of a man holding a flag in one hand. The man is either facing towards or away from you. The man is either right-side-up or upside-down. No matter his orientation, determine as quickly as possible whether the man is holding the flag in his right or left hand.

    • Measures: Spatial awareness
  5. A line wavers back and forth in a white area between two red zones in a random fashion. When the space bar is pressed, the line will instantly be reset to the center of the white area. It is your task to press the space bar as quickly as possible after the red line leaves the white area, but not before.

    • Measures: Attention, reflexes.
  6. You are shown the horizontal line with the pointer as well as the white area with the line. It is your task to keep the pointer centered with the arrow keys while simultaneously using the space bar to reset the line when and only when it moves outside the white area.

    • Measures: Division of attention, reflexes
  7. You are shown a series of six simple shapes. It is your task to recall the six numerals that were paired with these shapes from earlier in the test.

    • Measures: Recall
  8. A series of simple mental math problems is presented. "Which would you rather have, 1/4th of \$200, 1/5th of \$300, or 1/3 of \$250?"

    • Measures: Mental math skills
  9. You are shown four rectangles. One has a thin border, one contains a filled in arrow pointing left, one has a shaded arrow pointing right, one has a thick border. There are multiple exercises to the test. During some portions of the test, you are asked to click the rectangle whose arrow matches the direction of the one you are shown. In others, you are asked to click the one whose shading matches. In others, the border. These criteria change at random. Your task is to match the proper criteria as quickly and accurately as possible.

    • Measures: Attention to detail, adaptation to changing conditions.
  10. Listen through your headphones. A series of notes will be played. Then a second series of notes will be played. Touch SAME or DIFFERENT.

    • Measures: Whether you were good at Simon as a kid.

Personality

You are shown approximately 130 statements, one at a time. Your task is to determine how much you agree or disagree with them on the following scale:

  1. Strongly Agree
  2. Agree
  3. Neither agree nor disagree
  4. Disagree
  5. Strongly disagree

The statements are similar to:

  • I think the new morality is no morality at all.
  • Over the years, I have done some pretty stupid things.
  • I have literally jumped for joy.
  • I have a hard time resisting temptation.

Job Knowledge

This test measures technical knowledge. It contains questions concerning:

  • Turbine engine theory

  • Descent planning

  • DME arc degree-to-nautical-mile calculations

  • Stall recovery procedures

  • Mach-to-TAS conversion

  • Transport category systems knowledge

  • Emergency procedures

  • Aerodynamics

  • and more!


Thank Wright that's out of the way, next up is lunch!

Then comes the interviews:

And so on.


The conclusion

You made it! Someone comes out and shakes your hand. Now it's time to fill out PRIA paperwork and pee in a cup. If all goes well, you're given a conditional offer of employment! Congrats! You're a regional FO!

(If you can make it through training)

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  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Wow...that sounds like a horrible interview process. $\endgroup$ – fbynite Jan 16 '14 at 7:43
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I always loved the -40 question. And I don't think I've ever even heard of an interview where the alcohol-smelling captain question wasn't asked in some variation. My favorite was always the "You're on final and the Captain is the Flying Pilot. You notice that he strongly smells like alcohol. What do you do?" That one gets a bit more into the safety of the aircraft rather than if you'd stand up to the Captain. And there's always "The Captain is Flying Pilot and you're on final. The Captain becomes unresponsive. What do you do?" $\endgroup$ – Shawn Feb 13 '14 at 23:26

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